Economics in the Media…

…from “‘The Big Short’, Housing Bubbles and Retold Lies” by Paul Krugman in the December 18, 2015 issue of the New York Times; as retold by Barron‘s Gene Epstein in a letter to the New York Times (via CafeHayek):

To the Editor:

In his column on the film, “The Big Short” (“‘The Big Short,’ Housing Bubbles and Retold Lies,” Dec. 18), Paul Krugman declares that the housing bubble “was largely inflated via opaque financial schemes that in many cases amounted to outright fraud.”

This causal analysis is directly contradicted by an alternative view previously expressed in the New York Times: that the housing bubble was largely inflated by policies of the Federal Reserve.

“To fight this recession,” wrote a New York Times columnist on Aug. 2, 2002, “the Fed needs more than a snapback; it needs soaring household spending to offset moribund business investment. And to do that, as Paul McCulley of Pimco put it, Alan Greenspan needs to create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq bubble.”

In a blog on that column posted on June 17, 2009, this same columnist observed: “What I said was that the only way the Fed could get traction would be if it could inflate a housing bubble. And that’s just what happened.”

The columnist who wrote those words: Paul Krugman

Gene Epstein
Economics & Books Editor
Barron’s